Some 100 bags of fentanyl were found in the bedroom of a 13-year-old boy who overdosed and died earlier this month, according to Hartford police. An investigation into how the teenager came into possession of the powerful opioid is currently underway.
On January 13, the teenager was rushed from the Sports and Medical Science Academy in Hartford to the hospital after falling unconscious. Two other students who reported dizziness were also transported to the Children's Medical Center for evaluation. Drug tests later confirmed that fentanyl — a synthetic opioid that's up to 100 times stronger than morphine — was in a substance located near the students. Authorities believe all three came in contact with the substance at the same time.
The 13-year-old boytwo days later, police said. The two other students recovered and were later released from the hospital.
The school was put into a lockdown, and investigators said drug detecting canines found around 40 bags of fentanyl at the school. Hours later, the lockdown was lifted and students were dismissed. No other injuries were reported.
An additional 100 bags of fentanyl were later discovered in the teenager's bedroom, according to police who obtained a search warrant. The drugs were packaged in the same manner with the same identifying stamp as the bags found at the school.
There isn't any evidence to suggest that anyone besides the teen, who has not been named, brought the bags of fentanyl to school, officials said. And they are confident that the same fentanyl found in his bedroom was what caused his overdose.
The bags were collected by law enforcement and given to the Drug Enforcement Agency, which later determined the drugs to have an "extremely high purity level" at 58 to 60%. According to Hartford police sergeant Chris Mastroianni, a bag of fentanyl normally tests around 2% pure per bag.
"It was about 50 times stronger than an already very strong bag of fentanyl," he said Tuesday night at a town hall meeting.
The bags of fentanyl will undergo further testing, including fingerprint and DNA testing, to try to determine who gave the teenager the drugs. A person of interest, who has a history with narcotics and the house where the drugs were found, has been identified by police. That person is not a suspect at this time.
Police also said the teen's mother has been fully cooperative with the multidivisional investigation, and that there isn't evidence to suggest she had any prior knowledge to her son's fentanyl possession.
Hartford Public Schools Superintendent Leslie Torres called the death a "tragic loss," and emphasized the importance of opioid awareness and prevention.
She said Tuesday that Naxolone will soon be available across all schools, and school employees are completing trainings on how to use the medicine, which acts within minutes to completely eliminate all signs of opioid intoxication and reverse overdoses, according to the DEA.
"We're going to continue to support one another, not only through this tragedy but also to get the information that we all need so that we can be a source of support and empowerment for our youth," Torres said.
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